Creating pathways for stakeholder participation in water management
Abstract: The role of stakeholder participation has been increasingly recognized as important in water management. The EU Water Framework Directive (WFD), adopted in 2000 requires Member States to fulfill three levels of participation; information, consultation and active involvement. This thesis focuses on the third level of participation; where concernd groups, organizations or individuals are involved in co-designing or co-thinking of water management. This thesis uses case studies in Sweden to explore pathways for stakeholder participation in catchment-based water management, focusing on how the opportunity for stakeholder participation is created; social mechanisms important for responding to change; and how institutional arrangements can generate stakeholder participation. The result of the study shows that opportunities for changing track towards more participatory water management could be triggered by either social and ecological changes or surprises. However, in order to take the opportunity to change, social mechanisms such as leadership and social capital, is crucial. The legacy of institutional arrangements affects how water management adapts to new requirements and surprises. Some old patterns might clash with new approaches of participatory and adaptive water management. The results show the importance of creating links crucial to generate stakeholder participation. Municipalities are important actors in catchment-based water management, as well as bridging organizations that can be seen as independent by participating stakeholders. Based on these results, the solution to realize active involvement of stakeholders suggested by the Swedish Water Authorities is discussed. The result suggests that there are some important challenges to overcome, regarding institutional arrangements that could encourage stakeholder participation in water management.
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